London Five-a-side Champions : Wembley 1967
by Roger Hillier
Bobby Moore Collects 4th Trophy in 4 Years at Wembley
Geoff Hurst’s Forgotten Wembley Hat Trick
West Ham’s golden years of the 1960s with Bobby Moore collecting three different cups in consecutive years at Wembley are well documented and remembered. However, there is a fourth trophy the Hammers won. Again in front of a sell out Wembley crowd to make it four Wembley wins in four years. This fourth trophy was the London Five-a-Side Championships held at Wembley’s Empire Pool on Wednesday May 10, 1967.
West Ham’s full list of winning honours should read
* 1964 FA Cup,
* 1965 European Cup Winners Cup,
* 1966 World Cup and
* 1967 London Five-a-Side Champions.
EMPIRE POOL WEMBLEY
10th May 1967
Despite competing in the Evening Standard’s London Five-A-Side Championships regularly since the tournament’s inception in 1954, 1967 was the first time the Hammers’ won the event. Their second and third London Five-A-Side Championship wins were four and 13 years away respectively.
Pre-tournament odds of 7-1 seemed extremely generous for a West Ham team including three of England’s World Cup winning team from the previous summer. The full quintet was Colin Mackleworth, Bobby Moore, Ronnie Boyce, Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst, with John Sissons as substitute.
Perhaps the odds had lengthened because the four outfield players plus substitute Sissons had played the previous evening in a Division One league match at home to Spurs. Though Spurs were the tournament favourites at 5-1.
The route to the final was helped with a bye to the second round where West Ham met Queens Park Rangers. This was the QPR fresh from their Wembley League Cup win and one of the tournament’s favourites. Despite this West Ham had a comfortable 3-0 win with Geoff Hurst notching a hat trick.
2nd Round and a Hurst Hat-trick
Semi-Final and Charlton Teenager Scores against West Ham
The semi-final against Charlton Athletic was closer. A teenager scored first for Charlton Athletic. Fortunately for the Valiants an equaliser from Bobby Moore and a second from Martin Peters gave the Hammers a 2-1 win. The Charlton teenager was described in the Evening Standard (May 11, 1967) as a player “with long legs, flapping hair and ferocious enthusiasm which devours space and opponents showed on the compact pitch the qualities which make him the target for first division clubs.” The Valiants’ player was none other than Billy Bonds, who joined West Ham United three days later.
Players with West Ham connections
Billy Bonds was not the only player in another team with claret and blue connections. Alan Stephenson and Johnny Byrne both appeared in the Crystal Palace team. Byrne did not disgrace himself with three goals in his two appearances. While in goal for The Lions of Millwall was Lawrie Leslie.
In the other semi-final Arsenal narrowly overcame Watford on penalties to set up a north v east London final.
Another Wembley Final Hat-trick by Hurst
The final’s scoreline indicates that the final was an easier match for West Ham than in the previous rounds. Hurst grabbed his second hat trick of the evening with Ronnie Boyce the other scorer. Hurst’s six goals made him the tournament’s top scorer. A special mention must be also made of Colin Mackleworth. West Ham’s reserve keeper who stepped in for first choice Jim Standen. In the three matches Colin kept two clean sheets and only conceded one goal. Not a bad night’s work for a 20 year old. It was also a very good pay day for the keeper as he recounted a betting story from the evening.
The story below is taken from an interview with Colin Mackleworth published in Ex-Hammer the West Ham retro magazine.
Edition 13 (March 2004)
1966 Déjà Vu? – Hurst Hat-trick & Captain Moore collects Trophy
For the Hammers’ fans in the 8,000 sell out crowd who paid 7s 6d a ticket, Wednesday May 10, 1967 should be remembered for another Wembley final win with Geoff Hurst grabbing a hat trick and Bobby Moore collecting the trophy. Sounds like a familiar theme!
In the post tournament interviews Ron Greenwood made reference to West Ham’s indoor training sessions at Forest Row’s ice rink where many of the team’s 5-a-side skills were honed. It may not have been the club’s biggest trophy success, but it was the latest from the golden 1960s.
Brief mention of win in West Ham United programme
Colin’s last significant contribution in West Ham’s colours was when he was drafted in as Jim Standen’s replacement for the Evening Standard London Five-a-Side Championships, held annually at Wembley Pool (or Arena, as it’s known today). With world class heroes like Hurst, Moore and Peters, and Hammers legend Ronnie Boyce, in front of him, a starry-eyed Colin was delighted as the Irons beat Queens Park Rangers (3-0) and Charlton Athletic (2-1) before crushing Arsenal (4-0) in the final. As well as picking up a winners’ medal, he also collected an unexpected windfall, as he explains: “When conditions were too bad to train outside, we would have a session at the ice rink at Forest Gate and I quite enjoyed that, so when Jim asked if I fancied standing in for him at the Wembley tournament, I didn’t hesitate.
At Wembley, in front of the BBC Sportsview cameras, we had the strongest team by far and the further we progressed, the more money we earned. I was just turned 20 years old and earning only £10 a week at the club, so when the guy from the Evening Standard came in with a big wad of notes and handed each player an increasing amount of prize money after each win, I couldn’t believe it. I finished with £150 in my bin that night, which was like 15 weeks’ wages to me! I’d never seen that sort of money. And I’d hardly had a shot to save!
What I couldn’t understand at first, though, is why Johnny Byrne – who had been transferred back to Crystal Palace by then and played for them on that night – seemed as delighted as his former team-mates all were. I turned to Bobby Moore in the dressing room afterwards and asked him: “Why’s Budgie so happy for us?” “Don’t you know?” he replied. “Budgie and his mates had £500 on us to win the trophy at odds of 7-1!”
Apparently, Budgie and Alan Sealey had phoned around the London clubs before the tournament to find out who would be playing at Wembley and when they knew we’d be the strongest they placed their bet on us at odds of 7-1 against!
Afterwards, Budgie took all of us up to the Playboy Club at Hyde Park corner and I didn’t spend a penny of that one hundred and fifty quid.”
Geoff Hurst's Winning Medal
Sir Max Aitken presents the trophy to West Ham
captain Bobby Moore
In the first round a brace by Millwall's Derek Possee was enough to put an end to any West Ham hopes. Ex-Hammer Dennis Burnett was in the Lions’ quintet which recorded the 2-0 win. The 1968 London champions were Charlton Athletic who overcame Crystal Palace 2-1.
1968 London 5-a-Side Championships - Wednesday May 8
West Ham team: Bobby Ferguson, Billy Bonds, Ron Boyce, Johnny Sissons, Trevor Brooking. Reserve: Harry Redknapp.
Final: Charlton Athletic 2 - 1 Crystal Palace
1969 London 5-a-Side Championships - Wednesday April 23
Twice in two years the Hammers were knocked-out by The Lions. This time it was another Millwall star and future England international, Keith Weller, who scored the goal which gave Millwall a first round 1-0 victory. It was a shock exit as the Hammers fielded a very strong quintet which included the World Cup trio, Moore, Hurst and Peters.
Elsewhere in the tournament Johnny Byrne, who by now was playing for Fulham, played a couple of games scoring a single net. Byrne’s first club, Crystal Palace won the tournament with a 2-0 win over surprise finalists, Brentford.
West Ham team: Steve Death, Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters, Ron Boyce. Reserve: Johnny Sissons
Final: Crystal Palace 2 - 0 Brentford
London 5-A-Side Football Championships
The Early Years ...
During the 29 years the event was held, West Ham won the championship three times and reached the final on another five occasions. The Hammers were losing finalists three times before winning the tournament for the first time in 1967. The Early Years feature covers West Ham United’s progress in those first three finals.